It’s time for campus elections, and this year’s ballot includes four different measures that could potentially mean huge changes for campus. Here’s a look into what’s on the ballot and how this election cycle can affect students.
WHAT IS SUA? The Student Union Assembly (SUA) is UC Santa Cruz’s undergraduate student representative government. SUA serves as the official voice of over 14,000 undergraduate students on the administrative, local, state and federal level.
SUA Officer Candidates
SUA President is the leader and principal spokesperson of the student body. Responsibilities include ensuring productivity among the assembly and preparing a monthly evaluation of the SUA.
Raynier Ramos is a third-year legal studies and history of art and visual culture double major. He serves on the Dean of Social Sciences’ Advisory Council and wants to create an inclusive space. If elected, he plans to bring the student voice back to SUA through town halls and provide accessible food pantries across campus.
Davon Thomas is a third-year history major. He serves as the SUA Vice President of External Affairs and chairs the UC Student Association. If elected, he will prioritize student advocacy and said his experience meeting with UC regents and the UC President and taking students to regent meetings would be beneficial.
Vice President of Internal Affairs (VPIA) helps coordinate campuswide campaigns, chairs the Student Committee on Committees and acts as a resource for student-led councils. The VPIA also stands in for the president if they are absent or step down.
Alexandrina Chavez is a third-year transfer student majoring in politics. Her experience in student government includes the community college level and the UC level as a Porter senator. She became involved in Latinx student affairs at her previous college, serving in Latinos Unidos. She plans on making SUA more accountable.
Cameron Elliott was not available for comment at time of press, but supplied City on a Hill Press with a candidate statement.
I have spent my last two years on this campus advocating on behalf of students at the state and federal level in Sacramento and DC, pushing legislators to fund the UC and pass bills that will directly benefit students in a myriad of ways. I have lobbied for bills that would help those struggling with housing and food insecurity, expand access to mental health resources, offer state financial aid in the summer, among several others. In my third and final year here, I am looking to make a greater impact on campus and local level politics. SUA has a ton of potential power to make a positive impact with its half a million dollar budget but it has not lived up to the standard it should be at. My goal for us is to increase our voice, impact, and get SUA to do more.
Ishaan S. Khemani is a first-year molecular cell and developmental biology and environmental studies double major. Khemani was the chief of staff for SUA president this year. If elected, he wants to fight for dignified living for all students.
Vice President of External Affairs (VPEA) represents the SUA to the UC Student Association and United States Student Association.
Lauren Woo is a second-year politics and cognitive science double major and current vice president of academic affairs. Woo’s three main platforms are increased mental health resources, more food pantries and affordable UC tuition. They plan to advocate for improved faculty hiring procedures, cheaper textbooks and university-funded student testing materials.
Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion (VPDI) communicates with resource centers and student organizations, advocating for students of color and students with disabilities.
Rachel Freeman-Cohen is a second-year politics and feminist studies double major. She is currently an intern for the SUA Diversity and Inclusion office. Her identity as a student of African and Armenian heritage inspired her to run for this position in hopes of increasing inclusivity on campus. She plans to expand events and programs for marginalized identities on campus.
Saxon Stahl is a second-year double major in environmental studies and earth sciences. Stahl is a first-generation, biracial, LGBTQIA+ student. As VPDI, he hopes to expand outreach to first-generation students, hold the UC administration accountable and make SUA more transparent and inclusive.
Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) is responsible for undergraduate academic success, informing SUA on policy and serving as the student representative on the Academic Senate’s Committee on Educational Policy.
Sierra Berg is a second-year sociology major with minors in education and Latin American and Latino studies. Berg has been involved with SUA for two years. She wants to increase resources for historically underrepresented students and hopes to implement a bias reporting system for students who are discriminated against.
Aakriti Singh is a first-year studying biochemistry and molecular biology. Singh has experience in student government as a College Nine senator, the College Nine SUA representative and the undergraduate representative on the Committee of Admissions and Financial Aid. She wants to increase access to affordable learning materials.
Vice President of Student Life (VPSL) creates programming for students and helps run the SUA food pantry.
Bella Bullock is a second-year molecular, cell and developmental biology major and as the incumbent VPSL, she’s expanded services offered for CalFresh and the SUA food pantry. Bullock aims to combat student food insecurity by expanding the SUA food pantry and supporting student organizations.
Measure 70: Career Center Platforms and Programs Fee
After polling the student body, the Career Center found students want better platforms and programming and streamlined access to online career services. Measure 70 would provide the Career Center with additional funding by enacting a fee billing students $10.89 per quarter beginning fall 2019, sunsetting spring 2031.
Student input will help decide which services receive funds if the measure passes.
A “yes” vote for Measure 70 would let the Career Center give students updated technology, connections to high-interest employers, and customized programming for all majors.
A “no” vote would keep Career Center programs and services the same.
Measure 71: Amendment to College Student Government Fee
The College Student Government Fee (CSGF) supports student events, salaries, stipends for orientation staff and funding allocations for student organizations. Over the next four years, Measure 71 would increase the current quarterly fee from $10 to $20. For the 2019-20 school year, the fee will increase to $17 per quarter, followed by a $1 increase each following academic year.
There has not been an increase to this fee in 37 years. The CSGF is the principal source of funds for carrying out programs and activities in each of the colleges. The increase in funding would not only help these programs, but also support stipends for fall orientation leaders and salaries for student program assistants and tech crews.
A “yes” vote would help meet the rising cost of organizations and programs and provide fall orientation leaders, student program assistants and tech crews with a living wage.
A “no” vote would keep the CSGF fee the same.
Measure 72: Student Success Facility Hub Fee
As part of the upcoming Kresge College Renewal Project, Measure 72 would provide funding to secure permanent spaces for Slug Support, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the COVE at Kresge College.
Slug Support is an early intervention program that offers services for students experiencing personal, academic or financial crises. Measure 72 would provide Slug Support program space and bring in four case managers.
CAPS offers mental health services to students. Measure 72 would fund eight new permanent therapy offices for CAPS at the Kresge location to serve an increasing need for counseling services.
The COVE is UCSC’s recovery support service for students dealing with or have a history with drug and alcohol abuse. Jorge Bru, the lead counselor at COVE, said the new Kresge space will provide a more welcoming space than its current Cowell trailer. Bru said this would help student’s recovery and allow COVE to provide better programs.
The quarterly fee would be set at $23.90 per student, but won’t be instated until the renovations on Kresge are completed around 2024.
“Current students shouldn’t have to pay for something they won’t benefit from,” said Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff Lucy Rojas, “but the way the process works, we have to secure funding first, even if we don’t collect it.”
A “yes” vote would create permanent spaces at Kresge College for programs designed to support students like Slug Support, CAPS and COVE.
A “no” vote would postpone relocation.
Measure 73: Amendment to Student Transportation Fee
Since 2008, the costs of Campus Transit operations and the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (SCMTD) service contract have increased while the Student Transit Fee has remained the same. To combat the deficit, TAPS reduced 20 percent of shuttle services affecting Upper Campus, Night Core and Night Owl services. Measure 73 would increase the Student Transportation Fee over 11 years to help the Campus Transit Office sustain transit services and maintain the service contract with Santa Cruz Metro.
If passed, the measure would increase the existing student fee by $10.34 for the 2019-20 school year. After that, there will be various increases through 2030 ranging from $3 to $15 depending on the year.
This would increase the current fee of $111.66 to a total of $191 by 2030. To maintain proper use of funds, the ballot includes a required annual meeting between TAPS staff and the Student Fee Advisory Committee.
A “yes” vote would increase transit systems to and from campus and allow for the eventual transition to electric vehicles.
A “no” vote would cause further transit cuts such as reducing or suspending the service contract with SCMTD and reducing or suspending day and night shuttle services.